Tag Archives: coworkers

Hibernation and the New Year

17 Jan

As I alluded to in previous posts, I tend to want to hibernate in the winter and not do much.  Unfortunately, that’s also affected my blog.  I know I haven’t been blogging much lately, and what I have blogged hasn’t been the most fascinating stuff in the world.  Yeah, you can stop agreeing with me now. 

With the new year, I am renewing my commitment to blog more and to not suck at it.  Or at least try harder not to suck at it.  I have also let my husband talk me into trying a new diet and work out program which only verifies that I have, indeed, lost my mind.  But that’s going to have to be a post of its own.  Yikes.

I’m also changing my attitude about my relationship with some of my co-workers and the office dynamics around here, which is currently similar to one of the levels of purgatory.  As if dealing with some of the attorneys around here wasn’t enough, I’ve got co-workers who seem to revel in drama.  If there isn’t enough every day drama going on, they will just make up some.  I need a sign in my office that says, “Junior High called, they want their drama back.”  Because it’s really that ridiculous.   

Recently, the office gossip-monger, whom I have fallen out of favor with, caught wind of a misunderstanding between me and another paralegal.   Since we’re adults, the paralegal and I discussed it, cleared the air, and moved on.  Even remaining friends – shocking.  Once the gossip-monger realized the paralegal wasn’t going to gossip about our discussion, and dared to actually go to lunch with me, she started snubbing the new paralegal.  Seriously?

Yes, indeed, I have some mature colleagues around here.  It’s like being asked, “Who’s side are you on?” in a 7th grade “fight” that had nothing to do with you.  Did you ever get those notes or get asked that question in Junior High?  This is essentially the same thing, except with email.

If I had to offer advice to new paralegals or anyone entering into the office environment, besides take lots of notes and CYA, I’d tell them to stay out of the gossip, remain neutral and make up their own mind about who to trust and who not to trust.  Personally, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing:  focus on my work, be “office cordial”, and not give a damn what is or isn’t being said.

It’s a lot like Paralegal Hell, who works with female geese on the Death Star, except less Death Star.  And thankfully, I don’t have to share work assignments or cases with the geese in my office.  I can’t even imagine what that would be like. 

What would be your advice for dealing with those “special” co-workers, or how have you handled the “geese” in your life?

Friday rant

3 Sep

Today, I have been musing on the dynamics of working in an office full of women.  Women with pretty strong personalities.  A few of whom I love dearly, and a few of whom I would love nothing more than to never see again.  I guess you can count me among the ones with a strong personality, or at least strong opinions.  I’m musing on this particular topic because we have a new paralegal starting in my department on Tuesday.  I think she’ll be a great asset and we’ll get along, however it’s the other soul-sucking, negativity breeding people around here that I’m worried about. 

One of my favorite blogs, Paralegal Hell, has already done a post on the mind-boggling question of why some women choose to be complete bitches to one another and cannot mind their own frickin’ business.   Are people just THAT bitter and insecure that they have to stick their nose in everyone else’s business and then talk about it behind their backs?  But I digress.  That’s a question obviously answered with “Hell, yes”, but the reasons why will probably never be answered.  I guess some people are just soul-suckers by nature.  And, I have digressed again.

A few years ago, the only other paralegal who had been here longer than me moved away.  That left me as the unofficial “senior paralegal” in my department since I have endured longer than anyone else.  Not to brag, but the attorneys also see me as entirely competent and trust me.  (Not that it should be something to brag about, since it should be something the position REQUIRES, however these guys are control freaks who don’t trust much of anyone.  So yeah, it’s a bragging point.) That has left me in the position to train and mentor all paralegals who have arrived since.   

There is one paralegal in particular, who is older than me, has been a paralegal longer than me, but did not have nearly as much experience in medical malpractice as I have.  She was also a recent convert from “the dark side” a/k/a Plaintiff personal injury.  Training wasn’t difficult, but it’s been the ‘ever since’ that has been a treat.  This particular soul-sucker has some raging inferiority complex, or other nonsense.  She seems to think that just because she is a paralegal means that she is better than any of the legal assistants, can ask them to do the most simple and mundane tasks that even an attorney would just do themselves, and delights in sticking her beak in whenever she can get it.  She’s famous for interjecting herself in others offices and talk, talk, talk about the same things (or people) over and over, until you want to ram a pencil in your eye.  “Pardon me, I would love to listen to you pontificate on how you do a particular task that I, myself, trained you to do, but I must be going as I would rather sacrifice my eyesight and sit in the ER for hours on end than listen to you blather on”.

I am so SO lucky that she has somehow finally gotten the idea that I do not care for her (because she doesn’t take hints AT ALL) and steers clear of me most days.  (I am also the envy of the office for this reason.)

Which brings me back around to the fact that we have a new co-worker starting Tuesday.  I like to remain neutral when someone starts and let them draw their own conclusions about our fellow staff members.  But I’m afraid this particular person will suck our newbie in with her cleverly disguised “friendliness” and then spew her negativity all over this poor person.   So, you say as the “senior paralegal”, I should be able to put this person in her place?  I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that around here.  Even though I have been here longer than anyone else, and the attorneys look to me to mentor these paralegals, we all have the same job duties and she does not answer to me in any way.  She also has very grand ideas that somehow she is the end all, be all around here. 

Now I do not automatically think I am better than anyone else, or I’m the queen bee.  But it is infuriating the way she will interject herself with any new paralegals that come along.  So while I would like to let this new paralegal draw her own conclusions about the people around here, I am wondering how I should handle the issue with this particular paralegal.  I know that she will be in the newbie’s office as much as she possibly can, nosing around about what the newbie is working on and interjecting her own “lessons”, and even possibly putting work off onto this new person if she can.   Yes, it’s all happened before.   I don’t want to explicitly “warn” the newbie, but I do want to let her know that she doesn’t need to listen to this person and to be prepared to kick her out of her office.   

It’s like working in a frickin’ daycare center sometimes.  But without the crayons and nap time.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  “Sorry, I can’t rehash the details of this case, which are in multiple memos, so that you don’t have to actually prepare for your depo tomorrow on your own.  It’s my nap time.  Would you hand me my blankie & close the door? ”   

Now I’m off to thank God it’s Friday and decide whether today’s lunch will require alcohol to get through the remainder of the day.  I’m thinking “YES”.  And if you made it this far, you probably could use some, too.

Thanks, but no thanks

19 Jul

To whoever ate or threw out my cantaloupe from the office refrigerator – thank you! Not only did you alleviate the burden of having to eat it or throw it out myself, but you made the decision for me! How thoughtful and considerate of you! And no, I didn’t need that piece of Gladware. See, you even saved me from having to wash the container and take it home to use again! What a wonderful coworker you are!